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Red Cross volunteers head south

The Hood River Chapter of the American Red Cross has sent five experienced disaster volunteers to help with the relief efforts as a result of last week's storms in the southeastern United States.

Volunteers who have been dispatched to the South are:

Charlotte Valdivia, a logistics specialist with the chapter who has served as primary driver for the chapter emergency response vehicle known as "HARV";

Henry Parle, a member of the technology committee; n Stephanie Powell, a logistics specialist who trained with the chapter shortly after 9/11 and was later assigned to the New York area relief effort;

Lee Davis, a family service specialist who serves as an Armed Forces Emergency caseworker for the local chapter;

Ruth Maionchi, a licensed mental health professional.

"Springtime is the beginning of the tornado season in the Southern U.S. and damage results from both the physical impact of the tornado and the floods that usually accompany the heavy rains that help spawn the tornados," said Interim Chapter Executive Annie Simonds.

More than 3,000 homes have received damage and to-date the Red Cross has opened a total of 28 shelters and served more than 2,000 meals. In addition to the five people the local chapter has sent, three more have been requested.

"When I first started with the chapter, we only had one person who had the training to respond to this type of large-scale disaster," Simonds said. "Now, we have 17 volunteers who can respond to major disasters and the Red Cross average for chapters of our size is four."

To support the work of the American Red Cross, donors can make financial contributions to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund by calling 1-800-HELP-NOW or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions may also be sent to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013, or to the Hood River Chapter, 1100 E. Marina Way #103, Hood River, OR 97031. Internet users may make secure online credit card contributions by visiting www.redcross.org.

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